The Couple: Jackson & ShDonna Drumgoole
Location: Monterrey, California
Relationship Longevity: 10 years
Best advice to young couples: “Even though you have your own individuality it’s you and a partner now.”
The Drumgoole’s are a blended military family with 5 children including a set up fraternal triplets. Jackson Drumgoole III (Tre’) age 17, Lyric (8), King (4), Journey (4), Jansen (4).
Team BLF thought it important to spotlight a couple who has sacrificed a great deal for our country and community and still managed to have a thriving family and marriage. Military marriages tend to have a much higher divorce rate than traditional marriage especially during times of war, please read more about how this couple is beating the odds daily!
Q: What advice would you give to newly married couples?
A: ShDonna: “When I met Jackson I was in a career and had my own life I was twenty-nine years old going on thirty. So when I met him it was really hard for me to transition from doing my own thing to being a wife. I would say you really have to go into marriage knowing that you are “one” now. Even though you have your own individuality it’s you and a partner now. I don’t believe in separate accounts, both parties need to know what’s going on with everything. It was hard to share and being a new military wife.”
A: Jackson: “The main thing is keeping God in the center of the relationship, which balances the shock for the spouse. Therefore, she knows I’m trusting God and following me as I follow Christ. A three-strand cored is not easily broken. This keeps us grounded and still in love.”
Q: What things do you wish you would have known BEFORE marriage?
A: ShDonna: “One thing I should’ve done was more research on military life. I should have talked to more spouses on what to look forward to or what not to look forward to. Every time he was deployed there has been a child involved. Once we were in Alaska with a 10month old baby it was very difficult. I wish I‘d learned about more programs and support groups. The main thing is support systems, don’t get outrageous like going party, and don’t isolate yourself.”
A: Jackson: “It was challenging even if it was 30days or 18months because there wasn’t FB, Internet, or Skype then. The biggest challenge is knowing your wife is at home with all the children and missing you is the hardest part. We are trained to keep doing our job and keep moving forward. We have a strong team around us at all times. We truly get more support in our deployed status than the families at home and something we are still fighting for now. In 2005 officers led in divorce rate because they were getting deployed back to back. We as a country have a lot to do to support and the healing process on the back in.”
Q: What are some tips you would give on preparing yourself as an individual for marriage?
A: ShDonna: “I don’t think I was prepared. When I met Jackson it didn’t take very long for me to know he was the one, but of course I didn’t know how marriage all came together. I just knew I loved him and we got married pretty quickly. We were married a year after meeting each other. I didn’t really do anything to prepare myself. We have kind of done it together. Our marriage is better than it’s ever been.”
Q: How did you know he/she was the one? (Direct to each person)
A: Jackson: “For me I was married before and had a trial marriage. I had made mistakes but after I divorced my first wife. I sat down and asked God what did I do wrong? It took me about two years to study and research on what I needed to do. I asked questions like who am I attracting and why am I attracting this type of woman? From the studying I was able to put together a criteria or list of things. Men make lists for everything they want, house, car, etc. When it comes to us putting together a legacy with our spouse we don’t put much thought into it. So after praying and thought I came up with five things I needed in a wife:
1. I have to be physically attracted to her.
2. I need a woman who feared God more than she feared me.
3. A woman who would stand her ground, I love you but not going to jail or hell for me.
3a. Understand protocol of a household, by having a good relationship with her father.
3b. Her job wasn’t her identity.
4. Everyday we need to re-commit ourselves by building each other up after work. We don’t bring work home.
5. Children are important to me (Jackson has also authored a book about being a father. They Call Me Daddy – www.TheyCallMeDad.com)
When I first saw her we were at a friend’s party and this other guy was trying to talk to her. She smiled at me and I smiled at her and said to myself if she smiles one more time I’m going to grab this woman. So she smiled again and I walked up to her and asked her can I speak with her outside. Her friends were all looking like “we don’t know you” but she walked out with me. I told her that’s all the game I got I don’t have anymore game. I told her I have a son that’s five years old from my first marriage and here’s what I’m trying to do in life. We exchanged cards and were together everyday since. I was trying to marry her that first week but she was like let me ease into this thing. But I already knew she was my wife. I would’ve married her sooner if I wasn’t deployed after September 11th.”
Q: What made you strategize to heal from your previous marriage?
A: Jackson: “I don’t know anybody that wants to lose so everyone learns to elevate their wins or loses. I think we learn more from our losses than from our wins. After Action reviews which is what we do in the military. So I needed to know what I did wrong with choosing the wrong person and raising a son with a new woman. I came up with 5 S’s:
- Sex- attention, admiration, adoration
- Status- has to know he is lord over something (car, house, ect.)
- Safety – she has know he’s going to be there.
If we both provide those we will be together forever. I knew I must find one person and not connect with numerous women.
Q: How did you guard your marriage from family and friends input at the beginning?
A: Jackson: “My cousin said first thing you have to do is get away from here. So I took the farthest assignment I could, which was Alaska. We lived there for three years and we couldn’t escape and look at each other in the face and communicate. We were determined that divorce would never be an option.”
A: ShDonna: “We learned a lot and it was beneficial to be away from family and friends because I see how it could’ve been detriment for us in the beginning. We had nowhere to go so we had to make it work. Our family and friends know our personalities so they never tried to butt in.”
Q: What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned from your spouse?
A: ShDonna: “The greatest thing I’ve learned from Jackson is to open my mind a little bit more. I was always the type to have the answer and if I don’t see it I don’t think it can be done. Jackson has taught me so much about business and not to limit myself or thinking in any area.”
A: Jackson: “I have learned patience. I was pretty impulsive and it’s okay not to accomplish everything in 24 hours. Base in the victories and keep moving forward.”
Q: Who do you consider your marriage mentors?
A: Jackson & ShDonna: “Our friends, families, and pastors they all help in a positive way.”